Quote from amulam
I'm a new NP in a small clinic. We get free lunch from drug reps several times per week. I would prefer not to partake in these lunches for several reasons:
- I have ethical concerns about the free lunches from drug reps
- The food is rarely anything I owuld consider healthy. Plus, I prefer not to eat a big lunch anyway, since it makes me sleepy in the afternoon.
- Lunch really doesn't feel like a break to me if I have to spend it talking to a drug rep. I prefer spending the time quietly in my office, going for a walk, or running an errand. When I stay in the office during lunch-free days, I usually catch up on reading professional journals etc. - much more unbiased eduation than what I can expect from the drug reps.
I'm not sure how it would be received if I just wouldn't show up for the lunches. I feel like it might somehow be expected for me to show up. I'd love to hear from other NPs who have individually opted out of free lunches at their clinic, and whether anyone has questioned them about it.
Hi! I am a new FNP as well, and I was also a pharmaceutical rep for Pfizer for 8 years before going back to clinical practice. I decided I would rather wipe ass than kiss it. Just graduated with FNP, and I am working in a very busy convenient care clinic and family practice group.
I see this issue from both sides. As a clinician, and as a former pharmaceutical rep. No one will fault you for not going to the lunches. When I was a rep, I knew lots of providers who dodged "drug rep" lunches for the very reasons you cite-ethical issues, wanting their lunch break for quiet time or exercise, what ever. A good rep will not be offended or hound you for not attending. and, in reality, many of these lunches provide little value to the provider.
That being said, do not think all reps are bad, unethical, or, that the lunch and learn will be a waste. I attended a recent lunch and learn with the Eli Lilly rep about the new diabetes meds, and it was a great teleconference-the speaker was an NP who works at the Cleveland clinic in endocrinology. In addition to the presentation, I had time to ask questions of this NP expert, who provided great advice and resources for managing patients with complex diabetes with comorbidities. I am very glad I attended this lunch. The rep is also very well versed in reimbursement issues with the new medication, and provided the important info on how to get this medication paid for, or to get free medication for those with no insurance.
Also, FYI--the doctors in your clinic may expect you to attend in their place. When I was a rep, doing a lunch, often my only attendees were the office staff, and the NP's and PA's. The doctors understand that some providers should attend these lunches to "not be rude" and risk the loss of lots of samples from the reps, so they want to give the impression that the office is "rep friendly". So, they may expect this duty to fall on you as the "midlevel". And truly, reps will avoid offices that do not reciprocate with a bit of common courtesy, ie attendance at lunch programs. If other providers are attending, I would not worry about your lack of attendance. Lastly, please realize that reps are human too, and it is a difficult job with a lot of rejection and crappy treatment from providers, staff, and their own district manager, who expects them to do a certain amount of lunch programs. If you do not want to attend their lunches, at least be civil, smile, say hi, sign for samples, then move on. While I disagree on many levels with how pharmaceutical companies operate, esp. with an insider view, they are helpful on several levels.